Say “hello” to Emily Leachman at The Darling Dogwood! Emily joined the Island Batik Ambassador family in 2019 and we’ve been swooning over all the stunning quilts she’s whipped up during her time with us. She been quilting for more than 20 years after starting during her college years. Emily enjoys a wide variety of quilting techniques and is always willing to try something new with fabric. She is active in the online quilting community and a member of the Charlotte chapter of the Modern Quilt Guild. When not quilting, Emily is also a librarian!
Emily told us a little about her creative background. Let’s see what she said!
Island Batik: How did you learn to sew?
Emily: A child care program I went to as an elementary school student made quilts one week and I missed it. Since then, I had wanted to try. My college had a craft center with quilting as one of the options, so I jumped at the chance. Honestly, I needed a hobby! It was my sophomore year in college and I needed something other than classwork to focus on.
What’s your favorite part of quilting, and why? Least favorite?
Piecing is my favorite part, plus planning quilts in my head! My least favorite is layering the quilt to be quilted, with the actual quilting as my next-least-favorite.
What were your beginner mistakes in quilting?
Not caring about or paying attention to thread color. My second quilt was bound with cream-colored fabric, and you can tell that I pieced the binding strips together with black thread!
What is your favorite notion or gadget that you use every time you sew?
My ¼” foot for my sewing machine. For many years I didn’t know such a thing existed, and when I first started using one it was a total game-changer.
Is there block or pattern you could you make over and over again?
Log cabin. There are just so many variations for both the blocks themselves and the settings. Infinite possibilities!
What do you do that you hope the “quilt police” never find out about?
All kinds of stuff! Don’t turn me in!
What was the incentive to start blogging or posting on social media?
I started blogging to track the quilts I made, more as a record for myself than anything else. But it turned into an amazing way to make quilting friends!
Do you have a favorite quilt that you have made and why is it your favorite?
My Bloom quilt, Island Batik Gradations challenge from January 2022 (see picture below). I love the colors from all the beautiful pinks to the fantastic minty green (chameleon) to the creamy background fabric. I love the design (based on a picture of a painted Barn Quilt). I love the texture of the circular quilting. I actually made it as a gift for someone and I loved it so much that I made them another quilt and kept Bloom for myself!
Do you pre-wash your fabrics?
Almost never. I will pre-wash anything I am really worried might bleed, like reds or deep blues, or anything going into a bag or stuffed toy so any shrinkage happens before I make it.
What are your other crafty (and non-crafty) hobbies?
Crafty: embroidery. Non-crafty: reading, hiking, board games!
What’s your go-to stress relief when a project misbehaves or you need a break?
Chocolate is always good.
If you could choose an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
Hawaii. My goal is to go to all 50 states and Hawaii is one I’m worried about making it to.
To see the whole 2023 Island Batik Ambassador team, please visit: https://islandbatik.com/2023-ambassadors/
Stay tuned as we introduce you to more talented Island Batik Ambassadors and let us know in the comments below what else you want to ask Emily!